West Bend lineman a 'big' deal

Eric Spiekerman, a mammoth offensive tackle, is a player to watch from the state of Wisconsin

Eric Spiekerman's height and weight cry out for verification.

Can he really be 6-foot-9, 370 pounds?

"That's accurate," said Tony Michels, Spiekerman's coach at West Bend (Wis.) East High School, in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.

Spiekerman, a class of 2006 offensive tackle prospect, has actually lost weight during high school. As a freshman, Michels said, Spiekerman checked in at about 6-6 ½ and 425 pounds.

"I had him in youth football too in eighth grade and he was like 435," Michels said. "He was huge."

"He actually had to trim down and he's still trying to trim down," Michels said. "As I've told a lot of the colleges that I've talked to, I said, ‘once you get him with a sound nutritional program and strength and conditioning program'—I think the kid's very coachable, he's got a great attitude. You don't have to worry about him academically. He's a 3.8 [grade-point average] out of a four-point [scale]. He ranks No. 32 in his class out of 360. Somebody is going to get a good player."

Spiekerman is looking for his first scholarship offer. So far, Wisconsin, Western Michigan and North Dakota State have visited West Bend East during the spring evaluation period. Michels thought that North Dakota would be coming in later this week.

What schools have drawn Spiekerman's attention?

"With Eric right now I'd say obviously Wisconsin, he's been at their camp a lot the past three years," Michels said, "but he has (also) been in contact with Tennessee and Illinois and Notre Dame. I would say those are the big ones…You can also throw Nebraska in there too."

Spiekerman plans to attend at least three football camps this summer, Michels said.

"He's going to go to Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska and I think Notre Dame," Michels said. "And he's still evaluating some other camps too.

"He's only went to the Wisconsin camp in the past. He's been going there since his eighth grade year and figured that this year he would try to go out and see what he can do at some of the other camps."

Spiekerman was a first-team all-conference selection as a junior last year. He will be a four-year starter in the fall.

"For his size he moves pretty good," Michels said. "Talking with some of the colleges that have seen him on tape he needs to continue to improve his foot quickness, his bend in his waist. But he's gotten better. He started on the varsity team since his freshman year. He's gotten better every year."

Spiekerman has played defensive tackle from time to time as a situational run-stopper, but East has needed him primarily on offense. A drive blocking tackle, Michels said that as the Suns made a push into the third round of the state playoffs, they ran the ball behind Spiekerman's blocks 95 percent of the time.

"When he engages on somebody it is pretty much over," Michels said. "A lot of people would slant away from him or just try to take his knees out, cut him on the line right away. But… when he got into people right off the ball there was a huge opening."

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